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American History
3.13 The English and the Americans

While Washington was fighting the battles of the Revolution in the east, the British in the west were not sitting still. They had a number of forts in the Wilderness,[1] as that part of the country was then called. One of these forts was at Detroit, in what is now Michigan; another was at Vincennes, in what is now Indiana; a third fort was at Kaskaskia, in what is now Illinois. Colonel Hamilton, the British commander at Detroit, was determined to drive the American settlers out of the west. In the beginning of the Revolution the Americans resolved to hire the Indians to fight for them, but the British found that they could hire them better than Americans could, and so they got their help. The savages did their work in a terribly cruel way. Generally they did not come out and do battle openly, but they crept up secretly, by night, and attacked the farmers' homes. They killed and scalped the settlers in the west, burned their log cabins, and carried off the women and children prisoners. The greater part of the people in England hated this sort of war. They begged the king not to hire the Indians to do these horrible deeds of murder and destruction. George the Third was not a bad-hearted man; but he was very set in his way, and he had fully made up his mind to conquer the "American rebels," as he called them, even if he had to get the savages to help him do it.

Daniel Boone had a friend in Virginia named George Rogers Clark, who believed that he could take the British forts in the west and drive out the British from all that part of the country. Virginia then owned most of the Wilderness. For this reason Clark went to Patrick Henry, governor of Virginia, and asked for help. The governor liked the plan, and let Clark have money to hire men to go with him and try to take Fort Kaskaskia to begin with. Clark started in the spring of 1778 with about a hundred and fifty men. They built boats just above Pittsburg and floated down the Ohio River, a distance of over nine hundred miles. Then they landed in what is now Illinois, and set out for Fort Kaskaskia.

It was a hundred miles to the fort, and half of the way the men had to find their way through thick woods, full of underbrush, briers, and vines. The British, thinking the fort perfectly safe from attack, had left it in the care of a French officer. Clark and his band reached Kaskaskia at night. They found no one to stop them. The soldiers in the fort were having a dance, and the Americans could hear the merry music of a violin and the laughing voices of girls. Clark left his men just outside the fort, and, finding a door open, he walked in. He reached the room where the fun was going on, and stopping there, he stood leaning against the door-post, looking on. The room was lighted with torches; the light of one of the torches happened to fall full on Clark's face; an Indian sitting on the floor caught sight of him; he sprang to his feet and gave a terrific war-whoop. The dancers stopped as though they had been shot; the women screamed; the men ran to the door to get their guns. Clark did not move, but said quietly, "Go on; only remember you are dancing now under Virginia, and not under Great Britain." The next moment the Americans rushed in, and Clark and his "Long Knives," as the Indians called his men, had full possession of the fort.

Directions: Answer the following multiple choice questions. Also, answer the following questions on a sheet of paper:
  1. What are the methods adopted by the Indians to attack Americans
  2. Write the attack on Kaskaskia in your own words

Q 1: Where was George Rogus Clark born?
He was born near Monticello in Virginia
He was born near North Carolina
He was born near Georgia

Q 2: Detroit : Michigan :: Vincennes : --------------

Q 3: Who were called "Long knives"?
Clark and his men were called Long knives
Clark and his family were called Long knives
English and the Indians

Q 4: When the English sought the help of Indians to fight against the Americans, how did the English people react?
English people hated the war and begged the King not to hire the Indians.
Most of them were happy.
Most of them appreciated the King

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